Saturday, February 14, 2015

Jasmine Villegas >

Image result for jasmine villegas picturesJasmine Villegas, R&B Singer

What do you need to be a  leader?This is a question that touches me deeply. To be a leader is more than anything else, to be responsible. A leader has to be humble, respectful and thankful to the fans, set the example. My greatest attribute as a leader is to touch, through my music, the lives of those abused and hopeless. To turn tears into smiles...

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
It definitely does. Being Hispanic/Latina, we're so empowering and strong in overcoming obstacles and being successful. It's definitely carried over into my music and career

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
It definitely does. Being Hispanic/Latina, we're so empowering and strong in overcoming obstacles and being successful. It's definitely carried over into my music and career.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
It's the knowledge of knowing that not everyone is going to like you, nothing is going to be easy, but it's about how bad you want it and how hard you're willing to work for your dreams and goals.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
The biggest challenge for me would have to be trying to find myself as a music artist and as a young woman. I've been faced with many challenges that force me to live separate lives, but it's definitely been more of a learning experience on how to handle life as an artist and as a person.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about my life, it would be to find my sound faster. I feel like my fans have been waiting forever for music and it took me forever to find the perfect sound to give them, lol.

What was your childhood ambition?
It's a funny story. I actually wanted to be a vet. I love animals, I had so many animals growing up and I loved singing to them then one day my grandma puts me in a pageant and singing became bigger than I could imagine and opened so many doors.

Tell us about three people that you admire? It'll definitely have to be Alicia Keys because I loved how she was so beautiful and sexy, but never had to try - that was just who she was. Another is definitely my mother and my grandmother because they've taught me so much on how to be a strong young woman and to overcome so much.

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Haha. I'm not a morning person at all so dinner is always the way to go!

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
Well, I never got to go to regular school and have a personal life so it was definitely the sacrifice of giving up my childhood as well as not seeing my family all the time. We were separated majority of the time and it wasn't easy especially because family is everything to me. 

What is your favorite quote?
I have so many, but it'll have to be the quote I've loved since I was a little girl and that is "nothing's come to sleepers, but a dream."

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
I mean, in a sense. Most people don't ever support a path like I've chosen, but when it comes to what makes a person happy, that's all that matters.

Biggest mistake made?
The biggest mistake I've ever made was when I was going through a domestic violence relationship and not reaching out for help from my friends and family because I was scared.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I'd like to think so. I always try to do things for my fans and be the voice for them. I want to be their big sister, their best friend, and have them feel like they're reading their diary when they hear my songs.

About Jasmine
Jasmine Marie Villegas (born December 7, 1993), better known as Jasmine V, is an American pop and R&B singer. After many years of pursuing a career in music, she was signed to Sony Music at the age of 16.

At the age of 9, Villegas accepted her first acting job, acting in a commercial for the hit animated feature The Land Before Time IX. Her first professional singing gig was at age 11, when she performed the national anthem for the Los Angeles Clippers. Later that year, she signed with Damon Dash and worked extensively on a debut that was slated to feature collaborations from label-mate and former Missy Elliott protégée, Nicole Wray.

At the age of 16, she was then signed to Sony Music. She made an appearance in Justin Bieber's music video for his hit single "Baby," and Bieber and Villegas were in a relationship which she revealed in an interview in April 2012. She also joined Bieber on the second leg of his My World Tour and on the Kids' Choice Awards with him. She also appeared in the Sean Kingston and Bieber music video for Eenie Meenie. Villegas has also written with musician Nick Jonas.

As of 2013, Jasmine V has signed to Interscope Records. Villegas appeared alongside American rapper Becky G, on the cover of Latina magazine's February 2014 issue. 

She released her debut single "That's Me Right There" featuring Kendrick Lamar from her EP on August 5, 2014 and charted at #39 on Billboard Twitter Top Tracks chart. Her debut EP was released on November 10, 2014.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Latin American leaders hail renewed US-Cuban diplomatic relations

MONTERREY, Mexico — Latin American leaders across the political spectrum praised President Barack Obama’s decision announced on Wednesday to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, a move that could spark more investment in the Caribbean island and ease Cold War-era resentments throughout the hemisphere.

Hours after the announcement, the Colombian guerrilla group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, declared from Havana a unilateral and indefinite cease-fire as part of ongoing peace talks hosted by Cuba.

Read full article

Monday, December 1, 2014

Raul Gonzalez >

Raul Gonzalez, Sr. Business Development Manager, Microsoft Corporation

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Having a different background makes it easier to have a different point of view, different sensitivities. This is especially valuable when analyzing potential new opportunities and when interacting with other cultures.
I do not consider this a uniquely Hispanic advantage, but rather available to anybody who willing to open him/herself up and truly immerse into a culture other than his/hers.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
Challenges should not come unexpected. You need to devise a plan and have a course of action before you reach the point you need it. Granted, some situations cannot be predicted, but even then you need to have a broad idea of what to do in such cases; only then you’ll be able to make the right, and sometimes hard, non-emotional- decisions needed in moments of distress.
When things don’t go as expected, I stop and breathe, review what assumption(s) was/were incorrect, and make the best decision that I can at the moment; aware that my decision is only as good as the clarity of my goals and the quality and quantity of information that I have access to at that moment. Once the crisis has been adverted, I review and learn from it.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
Breaking out from the comfort of a “stable” professional life. There was one point in my career, when I was doing Software Engineering work, where my basic professional needs –income, life-balance, career trajectory, etc.- were covered; however something was not right. After some soul searching I realized I was very interested in the marketing and the strategic business aspects of the company and decided to pursue my MBA and do a complete overhaul of my career. 

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I would have taken bigger risks and paid more attention to my intuition. 

What was your childhood ambition?
Be an astronaut.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
Sir Richard Brandson
Bill Gates
Pope Francis

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
Time with family and friends.

What is your favorite quote?
“Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little” – John Muir

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
It is not if you truly trust yourself; however it is impossibly hard if you hesitate and try to comply with the status quo.

Biggest mistake made?
Solely doing what I thought was right as opposed to what it felt right.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?.
I have an Engineering background, and by definition engineers are innovators, they see the world and constantly find ways to improve it. For me in particular discovering new opportunities, devising new strategies or creating new products and offerings are activities that bring me a tremendous satisfaction in my life.

About the Company
Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, that develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics and personal computers and services. Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, Microsoft Office office suite, and Internet Explorer web browser. Its flagship hardware products are Xbox game console and the Microsoft Surface series of tablets. It is the world's largest software maker measured by revenues. It is also one of the world's most valuable companies.
Source: Wikipedia 

Monday, November 10, 2014

City changers: Houston's Hispanic leaders honored in front of a packed house

As many as 1,200 guests packed the theater for the black-tie evening that honored individuals for their leadership in and impact on Hispanic business in Houston. The evening included remarks from Stephen Klineberg, recipient of the Chairman's Award, and Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president CEO Laura Murillo.

Taking bows for their honors were Hispanic Male Executive of the Year Benny Agosto Jr., Hispanic Female Executive of the Year Maria Borros, Hispanic Male Entrepreneur of the Year Maximo Tejada, Hispanic Female Entrepreneur of the Year Evelyn Fletcher and Emerging Hispanic Business of the Year Regina Garcia, owner of Events.

Read full article

Monday, November 3, 2014

Keep Hispanic businesses growing with access to wireless services

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the contributions of the Latino community in the United States. The Hispanic community is a dynamic and entrepreneurial force driving growth and creating jobs, particularly through small businesses. This success has been supported in no small part by access to mobile Internet services.

However, potential government regulation of the wireless industry may slow down Internet access and increase costs, which would threaten the continued development of this business story.

Read full article

Friday, October 10, 2014

Hispanic leaders demand more seats at the NYPD table

Hispanic community leaders came together Sunday to demand from Police Commissioner William Bratton more diversity and greater Latino representation in the NYPD.

Head of the National Latino Officers Association Anthony Miranda, a former NYPD lieutenant, was joined on ABC7's round-table discussion show ‘Tiempo’ by Councilman Antonio Reynoso, D-34, and Dennis Flores, a Brooklyn-based community activist.

The three discussed with host Joe Torres what they called the NYPD's "tremendous void" in Latino leadership.

Read full article

Friday, October 3, 2014

NAHREP Bringing Industry Leaders, Professionals and Stars Together for Annual Conference Celebrating Hispanic Business and Culture

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 1, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) is holding the 2014 NAHREP National Convention and Latin Music Festival just in time to close out National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15th to October 15th. NAHREP is the leading trade association among Hispanics in the housing industry and is comprised of 21,000 members in 40 chapters around the United States. 

NAHREP's Annual Convention and Latin Music Festival is being held October 12-14, 2014 at the JW Marriott L.A. Live Hotel in Los Angeles. Approximately 2,500 participants are expected to attend the conference, which is focused on education, networking, awards programs and entertainment. 

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Hispanic leaders: Too few Hispanics among area's decision-makers

Hispanics might be the fastest-growing part of Central Texas' population, but they are under-represented as decision-makers heading up companies and startups, serving on corporate, nonprofit and community boards and representing the public in elected and appointed posts.

That's the consensus from a panel of Central Texas Hispanic business leaders interviewed by the American-Statesman.

Read full article

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hispanic-owned businesses growing more than twice as fast as national average

Hispanic owned businesses across the United States are growing more than twice the national average since 2007, according to a new report.

The Hispanics in Business 2014 study, by Geoscape, says Hispanic owned businesses will grow to 3.22 million by the end of 2014 and exceed $486 billion in annual revenue. The number of Hispanic businesses has increased 43 percent since 2007, the rate of all U.S. businesses increased 18 percent during the same period, and revenue that year was $358 billion.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hispanic leaders to be honored

The CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County, Dora E. Zuñiga, and retired Miller and MillerCoors official, Jose Ruano, have been named Hispanic Woman and Man of the Year by UMOS.

The two, along with others in the Latino community, will be honored at the 34th Annual Hispanic Awards Banquet, Saturday, October 11 at a dinner and reception at the Italian Conference Center, 631 E. Chicago.

Pedro Martinez, for 25 years the director of the office of Hispanic Ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, his wife, Joan, and their three grown children, will be recognized as the Hispanic Family of the Year.

And Caroline Maria Dannecker, 19, will receive the Hispanic Youth of the Year award.

Read full article

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Business leaders hope online university can boost Hispanic education

While more jobs in Texas require college degrees, the state's fastest-growing population group has struggled more than any other to make it to graduation.

The situation creates a growing skills gap that has business leaders looking to boost the number of Hispanic college graduates.

Just 17 percent of Hispanic adults in Texas have a four- or six-year college degree, according to the Lumina Foundation, a private organization that aims to expand access and success beyond high school. 

Read full article

Friday, September 19, 2014

What Julian Castro and Henry Cisneros share in common beyond their jobs in HUD and San Antonio

It was a déjà vu moment this week when HUD Secretary Julian Castro pledged to promote homeownership, calling it the “cornerstone of the American dream” in his first major policy speech.

Nearly two decades earlier, another former San Antonio mayor and fellow Latino – Henry Cisneros -- made the same pledge after he took over at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, casting homeownership as a pathway to the middle class.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Salt Lake City to host largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) - The largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders in the nation takes place in Salt Lake City next week as the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce holds it's annual convention at the Grand America Hotel September 21st-23rd.

On Tuesday the President and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Javier Palomarez visited ABC4's studios and explained how the convention wound up here.

"Salt Lake City competed against markets like New York City, Miami, San Antonio, Houston and Los Angeles," Palomarez said. "In the end, Salt Lake City won."

It won because business is booming in the Beehive State.

Read full article

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Business leaders call for contract negotiations to resume

SAN ANTONIO - Leaders from two of the city’s largest chambers of commerce called for the city and the police and fire unions to return to the collective bargaining table.

Speaking at a press conference, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Ramiro Cavazos said the city must act to curtail public safety healthcare costs, which have risen by 53 percent since 2009 and currently take up 63 percent of the city’s general fund.

Read full article

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Houston most Hispanic part of country without Hispanic in Congress

Houston Hispanics had a reason to celebrate. They had won.

After decades of rapid growth in the local Latino population, Texas legislators had set up a new congressional district to elect someone from their community to Congress. The 29th congressional district, local Hispanic leaders said in August 1991, would send new breeds of Americans to Congress.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Google Bets Big On Hispanics And Women

So far, I have gotten three urgent notes from friends this week, and they all sound something like this:  “Are you going to the event at Google?”  Said friends are all Latino, and all are in the tech ecosystem.  I was anticipating that the event — a coming out party for San Jose-based Manos Accelerator– would get some buzz.  But I underestimated just howmuch buzz.  It now feels like a coming-out party for theentire Latino tech community.  It’s the first must-go Latino tech event of the season.  It’s gonna be good.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

IRI Guides CPG Leaders on Marketing Effectively to Growing Hispanic Population

By 2015, the U.S. Hispanic market's purchasing power will total $1.3 trillion. To help CPG marketers connect with this diverse, rapidly expanding customer group, IRI has released a new “Point of View: Winning with the Hispanic Consumer Today." Leveraging IRI's deep insights and data, the Point of View will deepen marketers' understanding of the key disciplines required to succeed with Hispanic consumers, including creating a cultural connection, effectively engaging and activating shoppers throughout the path to purchase and gauging success through accurate metrics.

Today, Hispanics account for one in six Americans, or 53 million people. Hispanic families consume more media and are more responsive to media than the general population. Additionally, 70 percent of Hispanics are under age 40, making investment in this group a wise long-term proposition. 

Read full article

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Why Utah? Hispanic Business on the Rise

In 1847, Salt Lake City's founder - Brigham Young - saw the city and was immediately stricken by its natural beauty; the fortress of high mountains, the bright white snow, green hills, clear rapid waters, and a cool breeze that carried the majesty of all creation. Brigham Young saw that valley, and famously declared, "this is the place."

Brigham Young was right. And today, 167 years later, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) will make history again: Utah is the place for our 2014 National Convention.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

3 of World's Top 7 Billionaires are Latinos

The Forbes World's Billionaires.
It is the definitive list of the world's wealthiest people, profiling and ranking billionaires from 58 countries by their estimated net worths.
* net worth was calculated on March 2012
* source: Forbes

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Latino Community Bringing Business to Columbia

Columbia, SC (WLTX)- Main Street in Columbia will be filled with thousands of people trying out food and listening to music at the 11th annual Latin festival Saturday.

The annual festival brings together a community of people that is growing each and every year. One Columbia business owner says there is a need for more events and support for the Hispanic and Latino community.

"People came to me and asked if I could translate for them and talk with their insurance agents," said Raysa Sanchez.

Read full article

Friday, August 22, 2014

Growing Entrepreneurship in Latin America

Creating an entrepreneurial society from nothing is not an easy task. Of course the idea of ‘an entrepreneurial society’ as separate from general business is slightly misleading. Everywhere in the world ambitious people strike out on their own by opening shops, starting businesses or becoming sole traders.

But the development of an entrepreneurial society focused on a start-up scene is a different variation. The creation of tech-hubs, cultural interest in entrepreneurs and government-backed initiatives for innovative new businesses are all indications of a more advanced start-up culture – something that many countries crave

Read article

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Eduardo Ragasol Joins Mercer as Head of Latin America Business to Leverage the Firm's Strengths across the Region

Eduardo Ragasol has joined Mercer as Head of Latin America business reporting to Gaurav D. Garg, Mercer's Regional President, Growth Markets. In this newly-created role for Latin America, Mr. Ragasol will leverage the firm's significant market strengths across the region and drive Mercer's growth and profitability. He will be based in Brazil.

Mr. Ragasol was previously the President and General Manager in Brazil for Nielsen, a global information and measurement company.

Read full article

Friday, March 28, 2014

Johnny Castillo >

Johnny Castillo, Relationship Manager at Fora Financial

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
My Hispanic background influences my work at Fora Financial in that it allows me to connect better with Spanish-speaking people. Even though some Latino clients speak English, they feel more comfortable talking business and numbers in their native tongue. Additionally, the fact that I can communicate with more people allows our company to expand into areas that it wasn’t able to before.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
In the face of adversity, I lean on a mentality that was instilled in me to never give up on what you really want. Instead of focusing on the adversity at hand, it’s better to focus on the solutions to overcome the adversity.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? 
The biggest challenge that I have faced was when my family and I moved to the United States. We did not know the language or anyone here. My parents gave up their life to come to this country to build a better life for their children. The lessons they taught me, especially the importance of education, is the reason that I have been able to face any challenge that has come my way.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be? 
If I could change one thing about my life, it would be that I would have won the student body president race when I was in college. Coming to this country with my family as immigrants, we had to pave our own way and learn the culture of a new country. Determined to write my own story and become a leader, I ran for student body president. Even though I didn’t win, I felt it was important to put myself out there and show other immigrants attending college in America that they can be leaders. I am still saddened that I did not win because I think I would have been a strong voice and leader for my fellow classmates.

What was your childhood ambition? 
My childhood ambition was to be a professional athlete. Growing up in Columbia, I worshipped soccer, like many other children. Soccer was not just a pastime for my family and friends, but it was deeply rooted in our culture. I have always had a competitive spirit, which is why when I was younger I was drawn to becoming an athlete. As an adult, that completive spirit drives my entrepreneurial ambitions.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
Abraham Lincoln- He was a great leader and fought for equality. Without him, our history books might read a much sadder story.
Juan Pablo Montoya- He was the only Latin-American driver in NASCAR. This driver has entered and succeeded in his field where few other Latin Americans have.  
Albert Einstein- He was one of the most influential scientists of all time.  

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner? 
I have always had a preference for dinner meetings. They are less rushed than the other two, and it's also more acceptable to add in a cocktail to discuss business.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I only sacrificed my time in order to be successful at Fora Financial. I am an extremely motivated and driven person. My passion is working hard and finding success. I work daily with business owners that make sacrifices to keep their dream of owning a small business alive. My parents also made a sacrifice by moving to the United States so that my siblings and I would be able to pursue our dreams and find success.

What is your favorite quote?
“The most common cause of failure occurs when you sacrifice what you want most for what you want now.”

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
I think it is difficult to be unconventional. However, being unconventional means that one is thinking and striving to do things in better, more efficient ways. So while it is difficult, I’ve realized that being unconventional usually leads to greater successes, and that’s why I strive to be unconventional. Fora Financial can be viewed as an unconventional place to work. We are not a bank, yet we are able to provide funding to businesses of all shapes and sizes, and at a time where banks usually cannot and will not. Being unconventional has allowed the thousands of businesses with which Fora Financial works to grow and survive. I would say being unconventional is something of which to be extremely proud.

Biggest mistake made?
The biggest mistake I’ve ever made is not taking advantage of some of the opportunities that have presented themselves to me. One example of this is when I didn’t pursue my master’s degree in finance. I have learned from this mistake, and I try to pursue all the meaningful opportunities that come my way.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I consider myself to be an innovator because I wanted to work for a company that was in its infancy, yet is growing exponentially each passing year. And this is exactly what Fora Financial is doing. The technology platforms that we currently offer are truly innovative and are constantly evolving, making it possible to help businesses around the country thrive. In a time where funding options can be limited for small businesses, Fora Financial’s mission is to grow the small business sector.  

About the Company:
Fora Financial offers flexible, working capital solutions to small businesses in need of financing to sustain or grow their enterprise. The Manhattan-based company places a high value on trust and transparency and provides businesses with quick, customized financial solutions utilizing its state-of-the-art technology platforms. Founded in June 2008, Fora Financial has provided more than $178 million to over 4,500 customers.  See more

Friday, November 15, 2013

Beatriz Hartman >

Beatriz Hartman, Business Development and Community Engagement with Consolidated Credit

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Absolutely! Being Hispanic has allowed me to reach far more people of many ethnicities.  The Hispanic population is so broad and diverse that being a Latina has helped me bring personal finance education and resources to people who may not otherwise received them - I’m proud of that.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I always look at the positive aspect of any issue that I face. I try to look at challenges as something that will make me stronger, more resilient, bring new challenges and ideas/perspectives into my life. So I put up the fight and move on.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
I’m lucky; I don’t think I’ve had a challenge that has been difficult enough worth mentioning, but it was challenging to move to a new country by myself.   However, I had a clear goal in mind and I kept focusing on that goal so every time I felt homesick, I would think of my goal and the things I wanted to achieve.  I still miss not having my family near to me, but I have things that I need to achieve and goals to meet. 

In the professional arena, I have the challenge of constantly learning where individuals want to consume personal finances information and developing community outreach programs that connect to those audiences, regardless of their language preference. In 2013, for example, I was invited by Univision to be the expert on a series of Spanish TV interviews to discuss new credit card regulations to help Latino families understand personal finances so they can make the best decisions towards their financial health (check our YouTube channel to watch videos: We are always open to speak on TV and radio shows to educate the Hispanic community on personal finances.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
Nothing! I’m grateful for all I have.  I give thanks every day and just ask for more days to keep growing, learning and living new experiences.

What was your childhood ambition?
When I was a child I always dreamed of becoming a famous Broadway dancer. I remember watching them and I admired them! I love to dance maybe that’s why…

Tell us about three people that you admire?
My parents – I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t have their daily unconditional support, and guidance.  In a way I’m who I am today because of the love and the values that they taught me throughout my life.

Ellen DeGeneres – I’m an animal lover.  And I admire the fact that she not only is a great animal lover, but she also uses her fame to create awareness about animal rights.  She truly cares about animals.

The founder of Consolidated Credit, the company that I work for, Howard Dvorkin because he has helped hundreds of thousands of Latino families face and conquer devastating financial hardships and avoid personal bankruptcy. He also started the nonprofit organization at his kitchen table back in 1993 and today Consolidated Credit is one of the largest debt counseling and personal finance organizations in the country with sister companies in Canada and the United Kingdom. To date, Consolidated Credit has helped over 5 million in the past 20 years.  He is truly an inspiration by having a vision and passion to help people in financial distress and turning it into a large multinational organization.  

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Healthy lunch J

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I left Colombia 16 years ago by myself to pursue my Master studies.  I was very young and decided to leave my parents, siblings and friends behind for my dreams.  It was hard at the beginning being in a new country because I had no friends and I didn’t know the city where my university was located very well.  I had to stay in a hotel for a month while I looked for an apartment that was close enough to school because at that time I didn’t have money to buy a car, but in the end the leap of faith was worth it!

What is your favorite quote?
“No dejes para mañana lo que puedes hacer hoy”

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Ok if you are confident and believe in yourself.

Biggest mistake made?
I believe that mistakes always turn into opportunities to learn and to become better, so in a way, my mistakes have always taught me something that in turn has made me a better person and has made me the person who I am today.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Yes, I believe that most Hispanics are innovators; culturally it is in us.  No matter where you come from, Hispanics are characteristically creative and always innovating because we are competitive and hungry for success.

About the Company:
Consolidated Credit ( is one of the nation's largest credit counseling and has helped over 5 million people over more than 20 years with financial issues. Their mission is to assist families throughout the United States in ending financial crisis and solving money management problems through education and professional counseling. Consolidated Credit also has a Spanish-language site ( for those of the Hispanic community that are Spanish-reliant or Spanish-preferred. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Diana Valencia >

Diana Valencia, Senior Vice President, Multicultural Communications, Porter Novelli 

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Absolutely, I live and breathe multicultural. Being bi-cultural (growing up my family and I would travel to South America every six months, spending up to three months at a time) and bilingual has helped me to truly understand what triggers and motivates multicultural consumers. The ability to motivate and truly understand the consumer leads to transformation. Transformation leads to award-winning results.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
There is a choice not to?  Adversity is great.  It is what makes someone strong and successful. I’m so grateful for these experiences in my life. It has been these experiences that have made me stronger, successful and thankful for everything I have.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
Managing different stakeholders all at once, from clients, employees, colleagues, and partners and effectively communicating with them and exceeding a different set of expectations. But over the years I learned to master this skill, and turn a challenge into a strength. 

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
Nothing!  I have everything anyone can ask for: health, a wonderful and supportive husband, loving family and friends. I’m thankful for everything in my life!

What was your childhood ambition?
To be an actress/singer

Tell us about three people that you admire?
My parents, for being such innovators, dreamers and for their dedication to giving back to the community. They emigrated from Colombia not knowing the language or environment and had to reinvent themselves. Their hard work and determination paid off and over time they became very successful.

Richard Branson, for being creative, a dreamer, a philanthropist and for never giving up.

Maya Angelou, for being a trailblazer, a thought leader and inspiration to women. She encourages people to seize “life by the lapels.”

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
For a meeting: Lunch

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
It’s all about making daily choices to stay on the road to success. I always strive to participate and create new experiences and opportunities that will help me achieve my best. I never however forget to spend quality time with the people that matter most in my life.

What is your favorite quote?
I have many, but if I had to pick one it would be: Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~ Harriet Tubman

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Being unconventional is what sets you apart! To lead an exceptional life, one must be willing to take the road less traveled…and to paraphrase Robert Frost, that will make all the difference!

Biggest mistake made?
Not moving quicker and early in my career, being afraid to make myself heard. We must never compromise who we are merely for the sake of sensibilities!

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Absolutely, innovation is key to building businesses and programs that target the multicultural consumer. Certain products and services have a limited awareness in this market segment, so I have had to create innovative product offerings, services and experiences that motivate consumers to embrace new brands. 

About the Company:
Porter Novelli is one of the world’s leading public relations agencies. With 90 offices in nearly 60 countries, Porter Novelli delivers best-in-class service to clients around the globe. As the agency that pioneered social marketing, Porter Novelli’s heritage is grounded in influence – motivating people to change deeply ingrained behaviors that are rooted in cultural and social norms. This is achieved by identifying and activating against key insights that drive transformational change-- going beyond just “solving a problem”. The result is greater than just influencing people – Porter Novelli makes them believe.
For additional information, please visit

Porter Novelli is a part of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom Group Inc.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Faith Hope Consolo >

Faith Hope Consolo, Chairman, Retail Leasing and Sales Division, Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?

Determination and a great idea, not necessarily in that order. Entrepreneurs really are a breed apart.

What did inspire you to start your business?
My first endeavor as an entrepreneur was staring my own modeling agency in college. I saw a need, and being a bit of a performer myself at that time, figured out a way to fill it. Alas, I wasn't tall enough to be a model myself. But I sold the agency after graduation for a nice sum to start my life!
How did you finance it?
Given that I was acting as an agent, not manufacturing something, I could self-finance.
Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
I'm not Hispanic -- I'm of Italian and English ancestry. But I work with a number of Latino and Latina businesses, and while I hate to generalize, I do find that there is a unique drive to succeed in this huge community. The U.S. is now one of the largest Spanish-speaking countries in the world, of course, and that opportunity galvanizes entrepreneurs.
In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
What other decision is there? As have we all, I've faced obstacles both personal and professional -- losing both my parents before I was a teenager, being a woman with no business connections in a very male-dominated industry. I simply got up each day, worked harder than everyone else and didn't take no for an answer.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?

Certainly the last economic downturn could have been a tremendous problem -- particularly in motivating staff. We went back to basics, pounded the pavement, and instead had some of our most successful years.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
Even more business for me??

What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to be an actress -- and in New York real estate, we all are!

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
Larry Silverstein, Mary Kay, Salma Hayek

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Dinner! I avoid morning meetings if at all possible.
What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I work 24/7, and some friendships did sort of fade away. But I'm not sure 'sacrifice" is the right word -- it's more like prioritizing. My friend Elaine Wynn once said "You can have it all -- you just can't have it all, all at the same time." I've been a successful businesswoman, a wife, a stepmother, a mentor, student, friend .. just not all at the same time. I haven't sacrificed anything.

What is your favorite quote?
"Why not?"
Is it difficult to be unconventional?
No. I don't think I'm that unconventional, but being a pioneer is just what I've done. 

Biggest mistake made?
I'm not a person who regrets -- every decision, even one that doesn't work out, is a learning experience.
Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I do. There were few women in my industry when I started, and I work with a number of organizations to help increase our numbers. I started my own website years before many others in my business did. I opened a European office for my former company in the 1980s, when international brokerages were unheard of.
About the Company
Douglas Elliman's Retail Group is the industry leader in retail leasing, investment sales and consulting. We've brought some of the most famous names in international retail to the United States, and helped U.S. retailers expand abroad by offering site selection, negotiation, consulting and even visual merchandising services. See company site:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Maximiliano Lobos >

Maximiliano Lobos, President & CEO, Curso 123 Inglés

Being Hispanic… Does it have any influence on your business?
I think it is essential for the success of my English classes. As I explain in Spanish the different grammar topics, Hispanics feel much more identified with me. There is a significant level of identification between my students and my classes, precisely due to the fact of being Hispanic and having a better understanding about their needs.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
Always obstacles will arise in the world of entrepreneurship. Whoever decides to take this road, should have it clear. Not everything will be "colour-de-rousse". INstead of naming them "problems", I prefer to speak of "challenges" . I take every adversity as a challenge, and I gain experience for what may come in the future. When you think "What a terrible problem!" your mind gets paralyzed and you don't think. But if you say "how can I solve this?" your mind starts working to find a way out.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
My biggest challenge so far has been how to organize all the technology that is needed. There are many elements that must be organized in harmony: the website, YouTube channel, social networks, subscriber lists, advanced software, graphic design, video production, automated shippings, and so on. And when you have them, you keep them all in your head performing a great theatre performance. It was the most difficult thing to organize and learn about.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I'd love to spend my time just recording videos, which is the best that I do. Having more time to spend on what I am competitive. I'm working on it every day, delegating more responsibilities on brilliant collaborators.

What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to have my own company since I have memory in my teens. I had no idea on which industry, but I was clear I was going to start a venture of their own.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
In business, I admire what José Luis Nazar achieved. He is a Chilean businessman who succeeded in the U.S. with English courses for hispanics. It also baffles me the perseverance and vision capabilities of Steve Jobs, and thirdly, all my respect to Messrs. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. In terms of personal development, I appreciate the thoughts of Deepak Chopra, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Khalil Gibran.

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
You can not leave home without a good breakfast, you and the person with whom you'll do business. I prefer to have dinner with my family. So I invite you to have lunch!

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
When you decide to be independent, you become the master of your workday. No timetable. But this flexibility and this freedom can be a double-edged sword, since starting-up a business can take much longer than a normal working day. In that sense, I had to sacrifice many weekends, or spend many sleepless nights talking with suppliers across the world. You have to be careful not to be fully absorbed by the business, and not to neglect the ones we want in this world. I learned my lesson fast and I always try to keep a balance between family and business.

What is your favorite quote?
It's a great questionI have many notable quotes to sharebut I think I'll pick one from Albert Einstein whosaid"Imagination is a preview of what will happen in your life." I believe in the Law of Attraction and the power of positive thinking.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
It's hard not to be it when you're forced to stand out from the crowd due to the nature of your business. And mine is to teach languages ​​across the Internet. That will give you a public space by itself, and you must try and be original and as simple as possible to achieve loyalty and trust from your audience. If you're conventional, you will not stand out from the crowd.

Biggest mistake made?
I think it was trying to cover all aspects of the business. It is impossible.You have to know how to delegate!

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I'm always looking for ways to innovate in my business. That helped us to produce a range of educational products in the English teaching industry. First we started with the free YouTube channel, then naturally came-up the paid online course, then home DVD edition and the MP4 course, and finally the applications for iPhone and Android mobile phones. And we will continue introducing new solutions for the market and the users.

About the Company
Curso 123 Inglés is a company with the mission to teach English to the global Hispanic communityWe have a Free YouTube channel with over 23 million hitsand thousands of positive commentsWe offer paid products and services, such as VD courses, MP4 player courses, online coursesand mobile applicationsOur official site is

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